BROOKSVILLE, Fla. —- The air will defiantly be cooler inside the historic Spartan Stadium but the 75,005 Michigan State University football fans will keep the place electric and warm this Saturday afternoon as the University of South Florida will visit and take on Michigan State University at noon for the first tome in history.
Spartan foot ball coach Mark Dantonio is not a stranger to the Bulls football program, while he coached at the University of Cincinnati, Dantonio defeated the Bulls twice in three meetings.
Last week, the Spartans open the 2013 football season against Western Michigan University. The defense limited the Broncos to 11 yards rushing in route to a 26-13, victory of the intrastate rival from the Mid-American Conference.
It was back to the drawing board for first year University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart after the Bulls blew up and were defeated last Saturday night by McNeese State University 53-21, at home inside the famous Raymond James Stadium.
After the first play of scrimmage for the Bulls, which was an 80 yard run up the middle by running back Marcus Shaw for touchdown, the rest of the gamed turned out to be Taggart’s worse nightmare.
There were too many misplays and mistakes by the Bulls in every phase of the game, the Bulls turn the ball over three times.
There was a bad snap in a punting situation that cost the Bulls two points and there was a 76 yard interception returned for a touchdown with just 12 seconds left in the first half.
Taggart went to the bench early in the third quarter and replaced starting quarterback Matt Floyd with Bobby Eveld.
Taggart said he was surprises and disappointed about the start of the 2013 football season.
Against the Big Ten Conference, Taggart is still looking for his first coaching victory and in 2005, is the only time the Bulls have played a team from the Big Ten Conference and the Bulls dropped a 23-13 decision to Penn State University.
The Spartan need to replace tailback Le’Veon Bell, he finished last season as the third best rusher in the NCAA, he optioned to leave school early for the National Football League.
Stepping into the position on the field that Bell once held, the Spartans will give the ball to tailback Jeremy Langford, he carried the ball 20 times for 94 yards and one touchdown against the Broncos.
The Spartan have four of its top six receivers returning to the football field this season and that will help Michigan State’s quarterback Andrew Maxwell.
Against the Broncos, Maxwell threw the ball 21 times completing 11 for 74 yards but he did not throw a touchdown pass and he did not throw an interception.
Spartan wide receivers Keith Mumphery and Aaron Burbridge both finished the game against the Broncos with four receptions.
The Spartans defense can be described as physical, punishing and quick, the Bulls’ offensive line will see bulk in front of them, the Spartans defense will show different fronts and will blitz from the edges.
The Spartans defense is lead by senior linebacker Max Bullough, he is nominated for all of defensive awards including the defensive player of the year the Bednarik Award and the best linebacker in college football the Dick Butkus Award.
The defensive secondary for the Spartans is a talented quartet and they can get to the ball in a hurry. Against the Broncos, the Spartan pass defense intercepted three passes, two by outside linebacker Jairus Jones and one by free safety Kurtis Drummond.
The Spartans will use stunts on the line of scrimmage and fill the gaps for the linebackers to pursue the ball-they will get there quickly.
Opening night of the 2013 season the Spartans defense held the Broncos to 17 possessions, the Spartan defense held them to nine three-and-outs, forcing seven punts, a total of 204 yards of offense and just 13 points.
Shaw, the starting quarterback and the rest of the Bulls offense will have there hands full against the Spartan defense.
The offense for the Spartans is going though changes but is developing into a balance attack.
Defensive coordinator for the Bulls, Chuck Bresnahan will have to come up with a game plan to contain Langford and the line of scrimmage, apply pressure from the ends to squeeze the pocket down and flush Maxwell from the pocket and finally disguised pass coverage.
Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Walt Wells will be trying to balance the line of scrimmage and the quickness of the Spartan defense.
Can the Bulls win at Michigan State University?
Strange things can happen on Saturday afternoon especially at Spartan Stadium, the phantom clock operator, bad penalties or the Spartans could lose there direction from the Kellogg Center.
If the Bulls win against the Spartans that would be cool but the likely thing that might happen is that the wheels from the Bulls’ bus will need changing because the Spartans could cause the Bulls tires and egos to go flat.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.